An extension of stamp duty relief on transfers of farmland within families, as well as more funding to support organic and sustainable farming, were among the main Department of Agriculture measures in the budget.
The announcement included €113 million in extra funding, drawn from carbon tax receipts, to be put towards green and sustainable farming schemes, a €32 million increase on last year.
Relief on stamp duty on transfers of farmland within a family, from 7.5 per cent down to one per cent, was extended until the end of 2028.
Similarly, existing accelerated capital allowances of 50 per cent of the cost of buying farm safety equipment was extended to the end of 2026. The budget also included an increase of €57 million in funding for an organic farming scheme.
The maximum amount in farm-related tax reliefs that could be claimed by a farmer in a lifetime was increased from €70,000 to €100,000.
The department said it would also be administering more than €1.2 billion in European Union-funded direct payments to farmers.
Pat McCormack, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, described the budget as a “complete non-event” for farmers.
“There’s nothing here that shows the Government even understand the scale of problems – still less want to solve them. All we seem to have got is a rollover of existing reliefs with some minor technical adjustments”, he said.
Tim Cullinan, president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), said funding for agriculture fell “a long way short” of what was needed in the “struggling” sector.
The fact the department’s overall budget allocation had decreased from €2.1 billion to €1.9 billion for 2024, would frustrate farmers, he said.
The Government could have drawn on Brexit adjustment funding from the EU “to offset the impact of Brexit on our sector, yet this wasn’t done,” he said. “Those farmers who are facing the consequences of trade deals will be very disappointed,” Mr Cullinan said.
Elaine Houlihan, Macra na Feirme president, the organisation for young farmers, welcomed the extension of several of the relief schemes.
However, she said Macra was disappointed that more was not done to support young farmers, many of who would be faced with the prospect of emigration.
The organisation had pushed for a succession scheme, where older farmers would be given financial incentives to step back and take a role supporting a younger farmer to take over farms, she said.